ESPN’s fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data, featuring ESPN’s proprietary Basketball Power Index (BPI) to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. NBA game odds for Tuesday are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
What you need to know for Lakers-Nuggets Game 1
The path to the title is now clear. The Western Conference Finals begin tonight with the suddenly dangerous Los Angeles Lakers heading to Denver to face the top-seeded Nuggets. Our panel of experts will help prepare you for this pivotal start to the series.
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When it comes to playing DFS tournaments it’s clearly going to be popular to load up on Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis, yet my model also adores “Joker’s” peers Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Murray even surfaces as the top value given he’s been uniquely consistent with at least 34.75 DraftKings points in each playoff showing.
Thankfully, injuries aren’t an issue heading into the contest, which allows you to get creative with these relatively deep rotations. Even as the competition elevates, savvy fantasy managers can ascend by building out lineups based on expected game script. Which is to say, if you have a feel for how this matchup unfolds, follow that in your construction.
— Jim McCormick
Breaking down Lakers-Nuggets Game 1
Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets
Game 1: 8:30 p.m. ET,
Records (Against the Spread)
Lakers: 43-39 (39-41-2)
Nuggets: 53-29 (44-37-1)
Line: Nuggets (-6) Total: 222
BPI Projection: Nuggets by 2.2
Money Line: Lakers (+205), Nuggets (-250)
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (GTD – Foot); LeBron James, (GTD – Foot); Mo Bamba, (OUT – Ankle)
Nuggets: Jamal Murray, (GTD – Illness)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play
Best bet: Lakers +6, Under 222. Once again, the Lakers feel like they’re getting just a tad bit disrespected in the market. Denver is very likely the best team the Lakers have seen so far this postseason, but the Lakers are also undoubtedly the best team Denver has faced. L.A. has won both Game 1’s they’ve played on the road in the playoffs against teams that had elite home records. Denver fits that bill, but catching six points in a game that I expect to be tight and lower-scoring is too good to pass up. — Tyler Fulghum
play0:29Why Tyler Fulghum likes the Lakers in Game 1
Tyler Fulghum explains why he likes the Lakers plus the points in their Game 1 matchup with the Nuggets.
Best bet: Anthony Davis over 3.5 steals + blocks. The Lakers have the best defense in the NBA and Davis is the anchor. So far this postseason Davis has averaged 3.3 BPG + 1.4 SPG. This is a pretty low threshold and Davis should focus his effort and energy on the defensive end during this series. — Fulghum
Best bet: Jamal Murray over 35.5 points + assists. While all eyes are on LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Nikola Jokic, it’s important not to overlook Murray, especially considering the Lakers’ season-long struggles with defending guards. Murray has averaged 25.9 PPG and 6.5 APG so far this postseason. He is in a great spot to surpassing those averages in Game 1. — Eric Moody
Best bet: LeBron James over 39.5 points + assists + rebounds. James was the driving force behind the Lakers advancing to the Western Conference Finals. While he scored 20 or more points in each game of the series, it’s James’ rebounding and passing that elevates his impact on the game. James averaged of 8.8 RPG and 5.5 APG in the West semis and he will need to sustain this level of play for Los Angeles to have a shot at reaching the NBA Finals. — Moody
Best bet: Nikola Jokic over 27.5 points. Jokic topped this number in five of the six games against Phoenix, and if Game 1 had been more competitive, it would have been 6-for-6. That seems like the only risk here, that the game isn’t close in the fourth quarter. The Lakers did not face an offensive-minded center in their last series and might have trouble defending Jokic. – Eric Karabell
Best bet: Nuggets -6. The Lakers are a great story but this Nuggets team, with Nikola Jokic and depth around him, will be a different challenge for sure. The Nuggets embarrassed the Suns and are well-rested. Expect an easy win here. — Karabell